A narrative review of problems with medicines use in people with dementia

Tesfahun C. Eshetie, Tuan A. Nguyen, Marianne H. Gillam, Lisa M. Kalisch Ellett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: People with dementia may be particularly susceptible to medication-related problems for various reasons. They include progressive cognitive decline, high sensitivity to the effect of medications on cognition and memory, and increased likelihood of comorbidities. Areas covered: This paper aimed to review current literature on the frequency and the types of medication-related problems, and their contribution to hospital admission in people with dementia. Literature searches were conducted using key search terms of dementia and medication-related problems. Studies investigating any medication-related problems in people with dementia or cognitive impairment were included. Expert opinion: Previous research showed a high prevalence of medication-related problems in people with dementia. However, no single category of medication-related problems was reported consistently as the most frequent type across studies. The available studies also showed that medication-related hospitalization was common among people with dementia. These findings underline the need for effective medication management services to reduce the risk of these problems in people with dementia and cognitive impairment. Further work is required to characterize medication-related problems comprehensively in this vulnerable patient group across settings of care. Future research should take a holistic approach in the identification of medication-related problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-836
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Safety
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 3 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse drug reactions
  • dementia
  • hospitalization
  • medication adherence
  • medication safety
  • medication-related problems
  • potentially inappropriate prescribing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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